Friday, July 6, 2012

Explosions on the Beach

“Patriotism,” Krishnamurti said, “is a disease,”
and the cops are out in force at Westport Beach
to quarantine those poor, unauthorized free,
and even the few they wave beyond the ropes
stagger under the weight of their medications:
the Budweiser keggers, Vilebrequin beach towels,
chairs with parasols, pop-up cabanas, tiki lanterns,
enough charcoal and kerosene for a winter,
enough steak to feed the Marines.

They’re here to see the puppet show of armaments.
The elders grab for alcohol in bags and white canteens
and think the Chinese lanterns high above are loaded drones,
while boys are mesmerized in front of fires in hollowed craters,
and little girls are buried, seashell glitter in their eyes, in sand,
and teenagers in uniform snap to sexualized attention
behind the chafing of their too-tight rubber bands.
All pass the time by talking of themselves in terms of war.

Then the phosphorescent locusts come,
the magic rabbits from the incandescent hats,
the Horatio Alger Hiss flak cracks and semaphoric blasts,
evanescent decorations of a city in the sky:
fire flowers, star fountains, bursting jewels, moving footballs, bleeding
mortars spell out U and S and A and then puff out
(just like this country now, in its afterburn of IR swaps),
while a city of yachts watches on the horizon,
and a city on the beach glows with sparklers, flares and lamps.

A storm of infantry blasts from the sea,
cannons shake the smoke-encrusted beach,
and the ghosts of ancient minutemen and sailors
come to settle once again their final scores,
and then the sky itself joins in, as lightning
bolts torpedo through the clouds, electric
thunder rocket ships explode, white
flashes more insistent than this pyrotechnic staging,
sonic booms far grander than this gunpowder report,
as if to say “how many people do I have to kill
to keep you humble?” As giant drops of rain begin to fall
people run, appropriately cowed, for any shelter.
A crane walks like a question mark, as before.


the walking man said...

We enjoy the unnatural and despise or cower at the natural. Ever notice how all tears flow for Patriotism on cue, just like greed at Christmas?

Jack said...

This reminded me of why I don't celebrate much of anything.

erin said...

sorry, jack made me laugh just there.

this line is seriously awesome: "the Horatio Alger Hiss flak cracks and semaphoric blasts".

and too i love the drawing of it all up with the natural and this, this is what causes people to object, to move, the rain? the crane is perfect. we are not.

have you read robert bly's the teeth mother naked at last? holy holy.


William A. Sigler said...

I love your instincts, Erin. In fact, I deleted a few lines from this because I saw they were coming to close to Bly's teeth mother opus, something about how the Chinese only understood fireworks as art, but Anglo-Americans liked the art of spilled blood better.